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Industry responds to new ACMD CBD product advice

Cannabis industry members have responded to the new ACMD issued advice for consumer CBD products.

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Industry responds to new ACMD CBD product advice

New advice on cannabinoid limits in cannabis consumer products in the UK are welcome but slow, with more clarification needed, industry members have said.

On Friday, 17 December the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) issued a report with new recommendations for the appropriate levels of cannabinoids contained in consumer CBD products.

The development followed a statement from the Home Office in January 2021 announcing its intention to establish a legal framework for the products.

The resulting report has recommended that a new limit of 0.5 milligrammes of THC can now be contained in products – “per serving”. This is a welcome development for the industry from the current 0.2 to 0.3 milligramme allowance “per container”, however, industry experts have said that new and sensible regulations are developing slowly.

Read more: ACMD releases new advice on THC levels in consumer CBD products

“In many ways this is a good report and the science is thorough and clear. The first conclusion is that they considered that the lowest dose of THC that would produce any adverse effect is 2 to 5 milligrammes per day,” said medical cannabis expert, professor Mike Barnes, chair of the UK’s Cannabis Industry Council. 

“They then arbitrarily reduced this to 1 milligrammes THC which “was unlikely to produce significant psychoactive effects”. Oddly they then add “uncertainty” factors of 10 fold to allow for differences in age, body size, individual variation in response (with no back-up evidence) and then further reduce that by another factor of 2 to “take account of variations in use or concurrent use of more than one product”.”

Barnes highlights that the new guidance gives CBD sellers the ability to sell bigger containers without breaching the limits, something that has been hindering the industry in the UK for a number of years.

“Thus they reduce the 1 milligramme by 20 times to make a “safe” amount of THC of just 50 micrograms per “serving”. The definition of serving is open to interpretation – “the typical quantity consumed on one occasion”. So where does this get us? 

“Certainly, this would provide more sensible regulation than the existing “1mg per container” rule. A container, for example, with 20 servings would still contain 1mg THC whereas one with 40 servings would contain 2mgs THC. 

“This would allow producers to sell larger containers without breaching the limit. Some progress – but still the allowed level of THC is ridiculously small when the report admits that 2 to 5 milligrammes THC per day would not produce adverse effects. We inch by inch head towards sensible regulations but oh so slow.”

Director for the regulatory and compliance unit at the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) Dr Parveen Bhatarah, who consulted on the report, also welcomed the news, but highlighted that more clarity is needed.

Writing to the Home Office, Bhatarah said that the guidance was “Certainly a step in the right direction” but that the limit guidance “is a little bit confusing for the industry” and “more clarity is needed as it is open to miss interpretation without maximum daily dose.” 

Bhatarah commented: “However, I do agree that they are also combining it with a maximum daily dose of CBD.

“I’ve been saying to the Home Office that if we want a sustainable CBD industry, we need to give incentive to the companies to have a much more economical process.

“So, analytical testing needs to be sorted and manufacturing needs to be a little bit cheaper because if you are having such a tighter regulation for the THC that means companies have to purify material a lot more, and hence, lower yield, and hence more cost for the industry to produce that material. 

“I’m really, really pleased I must say that they have gone far beyond what I was expecting.”

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Swiss CBD investment company secures £26.23m funding

Pharma Tech Holding has obtained a capital commitment agreement from LDA Capital.

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Swiss CBD investment company secures £26.23m funding
Home » News » CBD » Industry responds to new ACMD CBD product advice

Pharma Tech Holding SA has secured a CHf30m (£26.23m) investment from global investment group LDA Capital Ltd – with expertise in cross-border transactions including the agriculture, Agri-tech, and CBD industries – which will support its portfolio investments.

Pharma Tech Holding SA invests in innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, agri-tech, and functional food.

The CHf30m investment from LDA Capital will allow the company to invest and support its portfolio company Blue Sky Swisse SA, which focuses on the extraction of natural active principles from vegetable matrices, vegetable waste, and renewable sources to deliver B2B products under the form of CBD oil, terpenes and waxes. 

Read more: New cannabis-themed ETF launches

The factory, located in Biasca, will be built with state of art of extraction technology using supercritical CO2, and will be self-sufficient through the use of solar photovoltaic panels and district heating. 

CEO at Pharma Tech Holding, Sabina Del Nigro, commented: “We’re thrilled with this partnership and are so glad that LDA Capital recognises the value of Pharma Tech Holding and its portfolio company, with the aim of creating one of the most innovative hubs for health-tech, agri-tech and functional food.”

Blue Sky Swisse will make high-quality CBD due to a proprietary extraction process, starting from the farming, performed under strict control and culminating with the immediate freezing of the flowers after harvest. 

It will also sell “all natural” formulations to increase bioavailability and will invest in the agricultural raw material chain, as well as creating an aeroponic greenhouse in Ticino, to deliver a high-quality GMP pharmaceutical CBD oil.

LDA Capital agreed to commit an amount of up to CHf30m in cash within a maximum of three years. This Capital Commitment will be released based on drawdowns by Pharma Tech Holding, which Pharma Tech Holding has the right to exercise at its sole discretion.

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 

The acquisition is part of Tenacious Labs buy-and-build strategy.

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 
Home » News » CBD » Industry responds to new ACMD CBD product advice

Tenacious Labs has diversified into the pet care market with the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness, which specialises in THC-free CBD.

Tenacious Labs has stated that the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness represents an important milestone in its strategy to become a leading consumer products group globally.

The acquisition sees the group diversify into the high-growth pet care market for the first time. CBD pet care, according to Prohibition Partners, is expected to see global sales of products reach $424.4m (~£350.83) by 2024, representing a CAGR of 18.6 per cent.

Read more: Tenacious Labs to move headquarters to Jersey

As part of the acquisition, RaChelle Baca-Lobre will join Tenacious Labs as global director of sales – pet division and CPG wholesale and private label. Tenacious has stated that Baca-Lobre’s personal passion for CBD-enriched pet care, as well as her experience in managing a fast-growing brand, will prove invaluable for the Group as it looks to scale up its pet care division over the coming months.

Read more: Tenacious Labs CEO discusses its acquisition of Press Pause

 CEO and co-founder of Tenacious Labs, Nicholas Morland, commented: “We are delighted to welcome RaChelle and her team to Tenacious Labs. 

“Since launching in 2018, Rover’s Wellness has grown rapidly, launching genuinely market-leading products which have been well received by customers across the US. This acquisition will enable us to kick-start our pet care division, while combining RaChelle’s expertise and Tenacious Labs’ high quality manufacturing capabilities to significantly scale up Rover’s Wellness. 

“We look forward to working with her closely over the coming months and years.

Tennessee-based Rover’s Wellness creates high quality products containing all natural, non-GMO ingredients including 100 per cent certified organically grown hemp. The company was founded by Baca-Lobre in 2018 after her own pet was diagnosed with cancer. Rover’s Wellness offers a range of oils, topical salves and treats which use CBD to support joint flexibility and mobility, ease anxiety and promote positive long-term health for dogs, cats and equine.

A core part of the brand’s approach is its commitment to testing and transparency. Leveraging a “seed to sale” approach, Rover’s Wellness works directly with growers and uses state-of-the-art nano technology to extract CBD before purity testing. 

Each batch is tested by a certified industrial hemp laboratory, both before and after production, with all lab-results published on its website. This process ensures that none of Rover’s Wellness products contain THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis which is harmful to animals.

Baca-Lobre said: “I am excited to join Tenacious Labs, a group which reflects my desire to create safe, natural and quality products, underpinned by third-party laboratory testing. 

“We have enjoyed great success to date, and I believe that by harnessing Tenacious Labs’ best-in-class manufacturing facilities, marketing expertise, and operational support, we can unlock more exciting growth opportunities for Rover’s Wellness and the group’s broader pet care division.”

Tenacious Labs has now completed three acquisitions since launching 12 months ago, including female-focused CBD brand Press Pause and high-quality white-label manufacturer SZM LLC — now operating as TL Manufacturing. The group has also continued to expand, now employing 35 people around the world as it looks to scale up.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands

The company has now invested a total of £500,000 in South West Brands.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands
Home » News » CBD » Industry responds to new ACMD CBD product advice

SEED Innovations has invested a further £50,000 in CBD company South West Brands Limited.

The investment by SEED Innovations has been made as part of a funding round by London-based South West Brands to raise up to £1m. 

Focusing on making investments in the medical cannabis, health and wellness spaces, Guernsey-based SEED Innovations made its last investment in South West Brands of £150,000 in 2021, bringing its toady investment in South West Brands to £450,000.

Read more: All female-led South West Brands to list on London Stock Exchange

South West Brands, which recently saw its Botanic Lab drinks and supplements added to the UK Food Standard Agency list of CBD products permitted to stay on sale in England and Wales, has recently had two of its products listed in major UK retailers. 

Its LoveMeMeMe brand is now stocked in Asos and its FEWE brand will be stocked in Superdrug from September.

CEO of SEED, Ed McDermott, commented: “We have seen some considerable progress made by the team at South West Brands over recent weeks with the launch of their two brands for sale in to Superdrug stores and online at ASOS. 

“The products have received a fantastic reception by consumers in what is fast becoming a burgeoning FemTech sector where South West Brands are leading the charge.

“Generating early revenues, with the products now increasingly available, we anticipate seeing a fast uptick in wholesale sales which will further lead to additional product development and hopefully support for the products availability outside of the UK.

“We are pleased to continue to support Rebekah Hall and her team as they build a credible, sustainable and scalable wellness business developing and commercialising their brands.”

CEO of South West Brands, Rebekah Hall, said: “The progress SWB has made in the short time since launch is just the beginning of where we believe our brands can reach. In particular, we are at an exciting juncture in the provision of female wellness solutions with increased awareness infiltrating mainstream audiences and building commercial traction with mainstream retailers. 

“With further funding in place, including the support from SEED, we look ahead to continued growth in the UK as well as commercial opportunities in other markets, including the US. “

The investment is by way of a three year, 8 per cent Convertible Loan Note (CLN), and SEED has agreed to convert £50,000 of the 12 month, 8 per cent CLN subscribed for in July 2021 into this three year, 8 per cent CLN.

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